Solar photovoltaic panels generate electricity at an Exelon solar power facility.
Chicago’s dependence on fossil fuels continues to bring to light the need for a switch to renewable energy sources. Solar, wind, and other alternative sources of energy have gained ground and general acceptance as viable resources.
The U.S. Department of Energy relates that every hour the sun’s rays provide the world with enough energy for an entire year. Nevertheless, the problem isn’t finding the energy; the underlying problem is the creation of jobs in these new energy fields.
Government initiatives and legislation have created some “green careers,” but the majority of the new jobs are created by means of private industry. For instance, the commercial sector of the solar power industry has grown exponentially over the past decade.
According to The Solar Foundation's Solar Job Census 2013, there are nearly 143,000 solar workers in the U.S., a nearly 20 percent increase over employment totals in 2012. These workers are employed at 6,100 businesses operating at over 7,800 locations in every state.
From sales to management, the solar industry is finding ways to renew America’s interests in the sun.
Companies like Global Efficient Energy have seen a steep demand in business.
“Business demands have dramatically increased our need to hire qualified personnel," said Abe Issa, CEO of Global Efficient Energy relates. "We have a great need for individuals with assorted skills like electrical rewiring, duct cleaning, door hanging, solar panel installation, and energy auditing.”
Similar corporations throughout Chicago are reporting similar needs and are getting boosts in business due to Chicago-based non-profits like Clean Energy Trust.
Riana Caravette, president of Earth Wind and Solar Energy in Chicago, has made her mark in the industry by leading the first female minority-operated solar business in Illinois.
“We are a premier designer and installer for commercial and residential 'green' power,” she said.
Earth Wind and Solar Energy is thriving as an Illinois certified women and minority business enterprise.
The Department of Labor BLS reports that careers in the field have salaries ranging from $43,000 to as much as $136,000 annually. Furthermore, the stability of these jobs is vastly superior to their fossil fuel counterparts.
As states continue to pass renewable energy friendly legislature, the private sector will continue to create green jobs.
Ilana Greene is a recognized expert in the female entrepreneurial community.